Single town?

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Like Clear Channel radio stations, many smaller papers would have little or no staff, nobody to answer the phone, nobody to take local tips and cover local news ... they would be nothing but shells of once-thriving community newspapers.

This map, prepared by the San Jose Newspaper Guild, shows all of the newspapers that will soon be owned by Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group. MediaNews started out with 11 papers, and the addition of 33 Knight-Ridder papers will give the Denver-based outfit a total of 44 daily and community papers in the Bay Area.

Most of the daily newspaper coverage of the deal (including the coverage by Knight-Ridder and MediaNews papers) has focused on the four biggest papers involved and ignored the smaller papers altogether — a sign, perhaps, that neither chain cares that much about community publications.

Currently owned by MediaNews: (1) Alameda Times Star; (2) Fremont Argus; (3) Hayward Daily Review; (4) Marin Independent Journal; (5) Milpitas Post; (6) Oakland Tribune; (7) Pacifica Tribune; (8) San Mateo County Times; (9) Tri-Valley Herald; (10) Reporter (Vacaville); (11) Vallejo Times-Herald.

Currently owned by Knight-Ridder, soon to be taken over by MediaNews: (1) Alameda Journal; (2) Almaden Resident; (3) Berkeley Voice; (4) Brentwood News; (5) Burlingame Daily News; (6) Campbell Reporter; (7) Concord Transcript; (8–11) Contra Costa Newspapers (Contra Costa Times, West County Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Times); (12) Contra Costa Sun; (13) Cupertino Courier; (14) East Bay Daily News; (15) El Cerrito Journal; (16) Antioch Ledger-Dispatch; (17) Los Gatos Daily News; (18) Los Gatos Weekly-Times; (19) Montclarion; (20) Monterey County Herald (not shown); (21) Palo Alto Daily News; (22) Pleasant Hill/Martinez Record; (23) Piedmonter; (24) Redwood City Daily News; (25) Rose Garden Resident; (26) San Jose Mercury News; (27) San Mateo Daily News; (28) Saratoga News; (29) Sunnyvale Sun; (30) Salinas Valley Advisor (not shown); (31) Walnut Creek Journal; (32) West County Weekly; (33) Willow Glen Resident. MediaNews owns 29 other California publications.

Stop Singleton's media grab!

EDITORIAL At first glance, it looks like one of the oddest deals in recent newspaper history: McClatchy, the Sacramento-based newspaper chain, buys the much bigger Knight-Ridder chain, then sells two of the Knight-Ridder papers to MediaNews Group, run by Dean Singleton out of Denver, and two to the New York Citybased Hearst Corp., which owns the San Francisco Chronicle. Then Hearst immediately sells its two papers to Singleton's shop, in exchange for an equity share in MediaNews operations outside of the Bay Area.

The upshot: MediaNews will take over the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times, along with some 33 small-market dailies and weeklies, which, combined with the 11 Bay Area papers the chain already owns, will give Singleton control of every major daily newspaper in the Bay Area except the Chronicle.